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Mouth Sores

Why do I get these painful mouth sores?

Question

I have suffered with painful, recurring mouth sores for the past year and a half. They appear as inflamed, coarse white and red patches all over my gums, quite near to the teeth. My doctor and dentist say I just have to put up with them. I have a relatively healthy diet - for a student - but I also suffer with what seem to be cold sores on my lips. They first appeared with a serious bout of tonsillitis and swollen glands six years ago. Please help.

Answer

Mouth ulcers are round patches of exposed tissue, which are painful if you explore them with your tongue, as people tend to do subconsciously. Spicy food or alcohol can also trigger pain. If you have numerous or large ulcers, eating becomes extremely difficult.

Mouth ulcers have always puzzled physicians. Medically called aphthous ulcers, and also known as canker sores, they look like any ulceration in the mucous membrane but there may be differing underlying causes.

The most common cause is the fungal infection candidiasis. The hallmarks are white patches, which can be wiped off by the tongue or with cotton wool to leave a crater with exposed raw tissue that contains nerve endings and blood vessels. These craters are painful and may bleed. Candida is a form of yeast that has tentacles, or roots, called hyphae. These penetrate the mucous lining to suck nutrients from the tissue underneath. When enough nutrients have been extracted and the tissue is ulcerous, the candida moves to another healthier area, where it continues to form ulcers.

Antibiotics were originally derived from fungus and their prolonged use promotes fungal infection, such as candida. Broad-spectrum antibiotics has led to a predominance of fungal and viral infections. This is recognized by many convertional doctors.

Deficiencies of vitamin B and severe lack of vitamin C can also lead to mouth ulcers. Other causes include excess stomach acid, chronic constipation, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and stomach ulcers. Certain foodstuffs, such as very hot chillis, pineapples, cloves, yam, ginger and radish, may also produce local irritation to the oral cavity, triggering ulcers. Sometimes people are sensitive to certain drugs or chemicals in toothpaste or mouthwash.

In traditional Indian medicine, mouth ulcers are signs of excess body heat. This is produced, for instance, by eating game, pigeon or red meat which has been cooked slowly for a long time with herbs and spices (chillis, cloves, ginger, garlic, cumin, saffron), as well as excess butter or ghee, almonds and pistachios. The remedy is eating cooling foods such as raw or spring onions, cucumber, yoghurt buttermilk coriander or melon.

I suggest the following

  • For about four weeks, eat simple food steamed, grilled, boiled or poached with olive oil, salt, mint, parsley, aniseed, coriander, or spring onions - nothing else. (You may lose a little weight.)
  • Avoid all yeast and fungal products (bread, pizza, Marmite, ready-made gravies, some canned products, beer, wine, mushrooms and cheese).
  • Avoid citrus or sour fruits (oranges, grapefruit, lemon, pineapple, mangoes, tomatoes, kiwi, rhubarb, vinegar).
  • Eat cucumber salad (with yoghurt and spring onions), water melon, carrot juice, cooled fresh mint tea.
  • Take kadu: soak two twigs in a cup of hot water overnight; strain and drink in the morning.
  • Take vitamin B complex: one daily for two months.
  • Take vitamin C : one 500 mg tablet for two months.
  • Take acidophilus with bifidus: one every other day for a month.
  • Consult a qualified homoeopath. If you are prescribed high-potency homoeopathic remedies your mouth may get worse at first, but it will subside and the condition will be cured.
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